The once and future CIO

How modern IT leaders are creating the future of business

The digital revolution

In the current edition of Workflow Quarterly, writer John Byrne recounts a seminal moment in the career of John D. Halamka, a prominent technologist who made his IT bones as chief information officer of Harvard Medical School. Soon after starting at Harvard, Halamka told his team that he wanted to take the bold step of moving the medical school’s entire IT infrastructure to the cloud.

“I had three advisers in a room with me and they all said if you do that, you’re going to lose the entire war, not the battle,” Halamka recalled. “You need to go out and listen to people and ask them what our strategy should be, and then we can go forward with a collaborative plan in three months.”

Increasingly, CIOs are called to help transform how companies operate and go to market in the digital age.

Halamka followed their advice. Three months later, he had forged a consensus to replace legacy systems like Novell and Lotus Notes with web-based services. “It was the plan of the company and not the plan of John,” Halamka said. “There was total buy-in, and in one year we finished all of it.”

This story illustrates a global trend: CIOs are no longer just technologists who provide IT services to the business. Increasingly, they are called to help transform how companies operate and go to market in the digital age. To do that, CIOs need Jedi-level management skills and a strong grasp of business strategy.

Workflow digitizers

Nearly two-thirds of CIOs (63%) say that business and leadership skills are more important to their success than technology skills, according to an exclusive ServiceNow survey of senior IT leaders in 12 countries around the world. Large majorities say that core CIO responsibilities include collaborating with the chief human resources officer on talent strategies (77%) and with the CEO on setting organizational roadmaps (69%).

Our research found that today’s most successful CIOs are adept at digitizing workflows across the organization in order to attract new customers, develop new products, attract top talent, and boost operational efficiency. Befitting this strategic role, 53% of CIOs today report directly to the CEO, according to a recent CIO magazine survey.

The new Workflow Quarterly is packed with insights to help CIOs implement digital workflows across every function of the enterprise. We even provide a handy interactive quiz that you can use to benchmark yourself against the 512 CEOs in the survey. At the end of the quiz you’ll receive a personalized evaluation and recommendations to help move your company in the right direction.

So what are you waiting for? Take the quiz, soak up some insights, then go forth and digitize.